Yamaha team boss Massimo Meregalli has praised factory engineers for their winter of work, and admitted to feeling mild surprise at the competitiveness of the 2017 M1 after a highly successful test at Phillip Island.

Having watched Maverick Vi?ales assert a newfound authority on MotoGP proceedings in Australia, Meregalli concluded the factory has made strides with consistency in long runs, an area that both Yamaha riders and management identified as in need of improving from the close of last year.

While Valentino Rossi declared himself "not very pleased" with the test, at the end of which he placed eleventh, Meregalli asserted that engineers have improved the whole bike, with the newest of two chassis the only component still under consideration with one preseason test remaining.

Speaking to Crash.net Meregalli said, "They worked on chassis, electronics, drivability. The problem is that if you look at the bikes, it looks always the same.

"We were not expecting that they could make such a big improvement, when you think that last year they tried but they never succeeded with a big step. They did it during this winter time."

On Friday Rossi indicated his preference of the newest of Yamaha's two chassis that he and Vi?ales tested back-to-back at both Sepang and Phillip Island. "The new one is better," he said.

Yet Meregalli revealed both riders will test two different specs again at the final preseason test at Qatar in two weeks before the season gets underway on March, 26th.

"The chassis is the only thing that there is still a doubt," he said. "Before coming here we thought that it was really good for the Japanese to leave Phillip Island with this decision but it's a really important decision.

"We prefer to wait two more weeks to test both of them again in Qatar. Then the Japanese maybe have to work very hard to be ready for the race."

Meregalli's words call the validity of Rossi's comments made earlier that evening into question to an extent, as the nine-time world champion stated that he was still some way from feeling content with the new machine.

Could it be that the nine-time world champion was bluffing slightly, and overstating the issues he had?

"Valentino has been asked to test too many settings," said Meregalli. "Always working on the tyre degradation. A few were working a bit better but maybe most of the others were not working properly.

"At the end he was just tired. He said, 'I don't want to start a race simulation and I don't want to do the time attack because I'm tired.'"



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